Few E-retailers Send Automated Welcome Series

July 28, 2010

Only 1% of retailers on the Internet Retailer 500 send a series of automated welcome messages to new subscribers, according to a recent white paper from marketing services and solutions provider Listrak.

“Creating an eCommerce Welcome Series to Increase Subscriber Engagement and Email ROI” finds that only 51% of the Internet Retailer 500 deployed even a single welcome message to new subscribers. In addition, 16% of the messages were personalized with the first name or other relevant information, and 40% offered a special discount as a thank you for subscribing.

Listrak advises that welcome messages have the highest open rates of all email campaigns and that using a series instead of a single message creates opportunities to nurture the relationship, including turning one-time buyers into long-term customers and brand advocates.

Following are specific recommendations from Listrak for e-retailers planning to send a series of automated welcome messages to new subscribers.

Welcome Series Messages do more than Say Hello
Beyond confirming subscribers, a welcome series can set expectations, build relationships, and offer valuable information. Specific tasks a welcome series can achieve include providing a website tour and instructions, surveying subscribers to determine preferences and profiling attributes, explaining member benefits, and providing additional means of interaction such as social networks.


In addition, a welcome series can be targeted based on specific consumer behaviors such as making a purchase.

Set Specific Goals
Before designing a welcome series, e-retailers should think about what they want out of each message as well as the overall campaign goal. They should choose messaging that is valuable and beneficial to their subscribers so they remain engaged with the brand.

Determine the Right Number of Messages
There is no “magic number” of messages for a welcome series. What works for one company might not work for another. The only way to know is to testing different options to see what works best for a specific brand.

Set the Appropriate Cadence
The deployment schedule of welcome series messages is also important. The initial message should be sent immediately upon subscription, as that is the moment subscribers are most engaged. Waiting 24 hours or longer can hurt campaign results.

After the first message, e-retailers will have to test the cadence of the remaining messages in their series to find what works best.

Content Must Be Informative, Engaging

The messaging of a welcome series depends on the type of campaign an e-retailer is sending and the goals they want to achieve. But there are several elements that should be present in every message. The following two graphics summarize Listrak’s recommendations for creating compelling welcome series content.



Social Media Links Improve Email CTR
Including social media links in promotional emails improves their click-through rate (CTR), according to a recent study from email marketing technology firm GetResponse. GetResponse research indicates that on average, promotional emails sent by small-to-mid-sized business (SMB) marketers that include links to at least one social network have a 9.4% CTR. Meanwhile, promotional emails without any social network links have a 7.2% CTR. This means promotional emails including social network links generate an average CTR 30% higher than promotional emails without the links.

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